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Yakupov: ‘I love this city and I want to play for this team’

Nov 12, 2013, 3:10 PM EDT

Devan Dubnyk, Dustin Brown AP

Despite what his agent said yesterday, Nail Yakupov says he doesn’t want to be traded. He wants to play for the Edmonton Oilers.

“I just want to help my team win every game,” the 20-year-old said today, per the club’s Twitter account. “I love this city and I want to play for this team.”

As mentioned, that flies somewhat in the face of remarks his agent, Igor Larionov, made in an interview with ESPN.

“We’re willing to make a move,” Larionov said. “Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

Then again, Yakupov wasn’t entirely acquiescent in his comments today. He wants to play more than the 10 or 11 minutes he’s been logging in recent games, and he thinks he deserves to.

The first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Yakupov has been the subject of intense trade speculation as both he and the Oilers have struggled out of the gate. Suffice to say, his agent’s comments only added to that speculation.

Our take? Even if Larionov was only being realistic — after all, trades do happen in pro sports — he didn’t exactly make Yakupov sound committed to the Oilers. And for a kid whose “team game” has been called “really, really poor,” well, parallels are bound to be drawn.

Edmonton hosts Dallas tomorrow.

  1. davebabychreturns - Nov 12, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Man, this would have been a stellar opportunity to take a quote wayyyyy out of context.

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - Nov 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    That quote in the headline looks like it could very easily be followed by a big fat “BUT…”

  3. ikillchicken - Nov 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    What Yakupov doesn’t seem to get is that there’s a reason he is playing the minutes he is. He needs to be better and adjust the way he plays the game. His play without the puck is atrocious and you can’t do that in the NHL. The fact that his response isn’t to try and improve but rather to simply demand more minutes and request a trade if he doesn’t get it…well I just don’t know what you do with that. A player with such an entitled attitude that refuses to consider that he might be the problem is completely unteachable. And thus, no matter where he goes or how much raw talent he has, I don’t see how he will ever succeed in the NHL.

    • hallforpresident - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      I bet Yakupov will learn. It’s too early for him to really learn the systems yet; this might be his second season but he still has less than 70 pro games under his belt. In that sense, it’s almost as if he’s still in his rookie season, so he’s not bad for a rookie.

  4. mlhegs - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Kevin Lowe has got to go. and so do his cronies.

  5. c9castine - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    i think both sides are at fault here. nail maybe needs to make bigger steps in playing the way he’s being coached but clearly they are doing a bad job developing and coaching this kid do they forget how young he is? not everybody is crosby/ovechkin/stamkos/malkin and can step in and immediately produce big numbers, or properly play NHL hockey.

    like i said, both sides are at fault here…nail did his part and committed. their move now…

  6. blomfeld - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:28 AM


    How the hell is a ‘quality’ person like Larionov connected to this ‘pompous, me me me, new-age, narcissistic’ freak ?

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